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Batavia group comes out against proposed industrial park

Will address aldermen Tuesday

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:23 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Eric Schelkopf - eschelkopf@shawmedia.com)
Members of the group Keep Batavia Neighborhoods oppose the rezoning of land at Kirk Road and Wind Energy Pass on the city's east side for a proposed industrial park.

BATAVIA – A group called Keep Batavia Neighborhoods is opposed to the proposed rezoning of land at Kirk Road and Wind Energy Pass on the city’s east side for an industrial park.

“This is spot zoning,” said Batavia resident Dan Pepin, a member of the group who lives near the proposed development. “They are trying to change the current zoning and put a light industrial complex right next to residential development. It is not compatible zoning, and it will change the flavor of the entrance to the east side of Batavia. It’s not going to feel so much like a neighborhood, as an industrial area.”

Plan commissioners in April voted, 4-3, to recommend amending the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning map to allow for an industrial park on land along Kirk Road originally proposed for town houses. Aldermen now will discuss the plans. The 56-acre property, known as Prairie Commons, is on the east side of Kirk Road at Wind Energy Pass. City officials in 2005 annexed the property.

The development originally proposed for the property included residential zoning on the eastern 36 acres, with 242 town houses proposed. The western 20 acres was to be zoned general commercial.

Skokie-based The Missner Group now proposes to build two large industrial buildings on the entire 56-acre property.

Members of the group plan to speak to aldermen at Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave. The group started a website, www.keepbatavianeighborhoods.com, and has posted signs along Kirk Road in opposition to the proposal.

“We want them to address our concerns at a future meeting,” said resident Joyce Keane, another member of Keep Batavia Neighborhoods who also lives near the proposed development.

Those concerns include increased truck traffic generated by the industrial park and that the project would decrease the value of homes on the city’s east side by 10 percent to 25 percent.

Dennis Merritt, who also lives near the proposed development, has made an offer to purchase the Prairie Commons property. Merritt, who has been in the real estate business for 30 years, said the economy has rebounded sufficiently to “wade back into residential development.”

His proposal calls for 242 town houses to be built on the land, which is what originally was proposed.

“If we change anything that was approved in 2007, we have to ask for an amendment to the annexation agreement,” Dennis said. “The plan right now is to develop it as it was approved.”

Meanwhile, the industrial park proposal continues to move forward. Batavia Planning and Zoning Officer Joel Strassman said Missner has submitted a proposed development plan, and he said he expects specific plans to be submitted in the coming months.

“I believe Missner continues to be interested in building on this property,” Strassman said Wednesday.

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